The Cohen-Davidson Syndicate Again

I mentioned below that the report from The Wall Street Journal about the hush agreement negotiated by Michael Cohen for Elliott Broidy, a top Trump fundraiser, is a key, new connection between the hush money payoffs and the Russia probe proper. Broidy is tied to the murky shenanigans of George Nader, with money payoffs from the Gulf states and the Russia/Seychelles back channel. But there are some key details about this agreement itself.

On the light-hearted side, David Dennison and Peggy Peterson make a second showing as the pseudonyms for Broidy and the as-yet-unnamed woman who claimed Broidy had ‘paid her for an exclusive sexual relationship for one to two years’.

More significant is this: The lawyer for the unnamed woman is Keith Davidson, the same lawyer who represented both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Cohen did not formally represent The National Enquirer in the McDougal case but he was closely involved in the background arranging the ‘catch-and-kill’ deal.

Still more notable is the way Cohen became involved in the case. According to Broidy’s statement, “Mr. Cohen reached out to me after being contacted by this woman’s attorney, Keith Davidson. Although I had not previously hired Mr. Cohen, I retained Mr. Cohen after he informed me about his prior relationship with Mr. Davidson.”

So Davidson was the attorney for the unnamed woman. He contacted Cohen, with whom he had already managed at least two similar deals, who then contacted Broidy and became his lawyer.

The same lawyers can end up again and again as counter-parties in different negotiations. That can be frequent in business negotiations. But there are already lots of signs that in these other two cases, Davidson was operating in some sense on Cohen’s behalf while nominally representing his women clients. That is the biggest sort of problem for a lawyer.

In this case, the association between the two men is even more clear. It certainly seems like this was less a matter of two attorneys representing adverse clients in a dispute so much as some kind of racket they had going as a duo. In the Trump instances, clearly, Cohen’s aim was to protect Donald Trump. Davidson got money for his client and a big percentage for himself. But there appears to have been an additional understanding Davidson had with Cohen that the former would manage the situation and make sure it didn’t get out of hand, certainly make sure the story never got out. In the case of Broidy, it’s almost like Davidson chose Broidy’s lawyer for him.

This is very murky stuff. I doubt either attorney will come out of this unscathed or perhaps even with a law license.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest Edblog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: